publishing industry, ranting

A post in which Kel tries not to be bitter, but can’t quite help it

I was doing my daily perusal of agent’s blogs and learned–on PubRants–that children’s editors are looking for:

–voice and character driven fiction (isn’t that what all editors want?*)

–a family-oriented story with complicated relationship between main character and parents or main character and siblings etc.

–gritty fiction

–novels where the reader watches as the main female protagonist making bad choices or learning to survive

If only I’d thought to make Waiting For Spring a YA novel, it’d probably be in bookstores as we speak.

*parenthetical question is in the original quoted post, not a snarky addition by me.

ranting

It’s gonna be a long winter

At a little after 3:00 Tuesday morning, a guy came into the store with a little over $20 in rolled coins, mostly pennies. He used them to buy kerosene to heat his trailer. Temps were in the mid 30s F, his place was freezing, and his four-year-old daughter has a cold. He and his wife each have jobs that pay only slightly more than minimum wage, yet they were recently turned down for heating assistance.

That’s right. We’ve got people rolling coins (!!!!!) for heating oil now–in September, mind you, long before snow’s gonna fly–while Mr. Bush and his cronies are giving a bunch of greedy, incompetent corporate assholes a $700 billion handout…excuse me, I meant to say bail out.

Is something wrong here, or is it just me?????

ranting

It’s gonna be a long winter

At a little after 3:00 Tuesday morning, a guy came into the store with a little over $20 in rolled coins, mostly pennies. He used them to buy kerosene to heat his trailer. Temps were in the mid 30s F, his place was freezing, and his four-year-old daughter has a cold. He and his wife each have jobs that pay only slightly more than minimum wage, yet they were recently turned down for heating assistance.

That’s right. We’ve got people rolling coins (!!!!!) for heating oil now–in September, mind you, long before snow’s gonna fly–while Mr. Bush and his cronies are giving a bunch of greedy, incompetent corporate assholes a $700 billion handout…excuse me, I meant to say bail out.

Is something wrong here, or is it just me?????

Maine, news, ranting

Old fashioned

About a year ago, I cancelled my subscription to my beloved Bangor Daily News. Heating oil was on the rise, it seemed prudent to cut corners anyway we could, and since BDN has a website where I could get my news for free, I figured that corner was an easy one to cut. Besides, I could pat myself on the back for being Green. Saving a tree or two. That sort of thing.

This week, however–trees be damned–I started my subscription back up again. Why?

“Reader comments.”

As a writer, I have very strong feelings about the First Amendment. Freedom of speech and all of that. But the bickering and flaming that goes on in too many of these articles’ comments sections makes me wonder whether or not some sort of intelligence test should be administered before allowing individuals to post. Or at the very least that there should be some sort of moderation on these pages.

What finally did me in was an article that was posted on Wednesday, August 13. Last weekend, a young man was stabbed and killed by his apparently mentally ill brother who “thought he and his brother were romantically involved with the same woman.” The article went on to describe how the woman in question, a nurse, tried unsuccessfully to revive her friend by using CPR. I don’t think most of us can begin to imagine what she, and the members of this family and their friends, could possibly be going through right now. And, it seems, many people don’t care, because it took about five minutes from the time this story was posted for the bullshit to start in the comments section; beginning with this gem from a New Yorker:

And here I’ve been thinking that the dating scene in Manhattan is desperate!

Um…rimshot? I mean, seriously, what the hell was this shithead thinking? Perhaps it’s because this is only the latest in a record setting year of domestic violence homicides in Maine that I’m a wee bit oversensitive to this type of comment. Or perhaps it’s because I witnessed a young man who knew both of these young men breaking down in the store on Monday morning when he discovered the news by reading it on the front page of the paper. Or maybe, you know, it’s because I have a fucking heart and a soul and more than a little bit of sympathy and compassion for the family and friends of these men who are suffering a kind of loss I hope I never know, and who will undoubtably have read this idiotic remark.

All I know is that I’ve had enough of it. And so I’ll get my news the old fashioned way. Without a peanut gallery.

ranting, writing

Indie Pride

Two of my new blogging buddies–Bunnygirl and Zoe Winters–have got me all fired up. I feel just like Pat Benatar, only without the big hair and mullet backup band. Not that I’d turn down a mullet backup band right now. I’d love to have one following me around everywhere I go…but I digress.

Wednesday’s post led to quite a discussion of traditional vs. independent publishing. Actually, Zoe’s been talking about it all week long and Bunnygirl stirred things up at Mr. Nathan Bransford’s blog last week with this comment:

What I find interesting is how many people think the only reason to write is to be published, and that publication legitimizes ones efforts somehow.

Why is that, exactly? I suppose it’s validation. Before a book hits the shelves, smart people with pretty degrees on their walls have all had to give it a thumbs up. That’s gotta feel pretty good. But what makes them do so? Artistic merit? Puh-leeze! You only have to browse your local Barnes and Noble to know that’s not necessary. Nope, the publishing industry is just that…an industry. It exists to make money. Peruse any agent’s blog and they’ll tell you that what they’re looking for is What Will Sell. That’s cool. That’s their job. But it means there’s a lot of good writing out there that’s being overlooked, and that sucks. In fact, it fucking sucks like hell.

That’s why so many of us have turned to self-publishing, a world where there’s no money to be had and even less respect.

Bunnygirl: POD and e-pub get a bad rap because there is so much awful and unedited dreck out there. To publishers’ credit, at least when they put out something bad, it’s well-edited for common errors. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any gems out there in indie publishing formats and I think a movement is growing to support more indie work.

Zoe agreed, adding:

Indie Bands and filmmakers are seen as “cool.” Indie authors are seen as “writers not good enough to get a publisher.” It’s time that perception was overturned.

Exactly! So how do we do that?

1. Write well, edit well, and polish. Let an honest crit partner check it out. Listen to that feedback and polish your work again. If it isn’t good enough to submit to an agent or an editor, then it’s not good enough to put into your readers’ hands.

2. Get your words out there. Post excerpts of your stuff on your blog or website. Offer free e-books and free audiobooks, even if you’ve got hard copies for sale.

3. Get your name out there. Submit your work to e-zines and other websites that support talented unknown writers, whether or not there’s a paycheck involved.

4. Support those e-zines and websites by reading them regularly and by spreading the word about them. Support and encourage other good indie writers. Comment on their blogs, buy their books, tell others about them. Let’s build a community.

Personally, making lots of money has never been a goal of mine, and it’s certainly not the reason I decided to try for publication in the first place. I just want my work to be read by as many people as possible. I love the feeling I get when someone has been moved or entertained by my words. That is why I write. It’s the only validation I need. If that’s why you write, then chime in here. Let your voice be heard.